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Fishery Exports Set To Rise

THAILAND - Thailand's exports of fishery products are expected to generate about US$3.55 billion revenue in 2010, up about 2.2 per cent year-on-year thanks to global recovery.

According to the BangkokPost, exports of processed and fresh shrimp should contribute as much as $2.3 billion, or about 65 per cent of the total.

The association sees a promising outlook despite hurdles next year such as falling marine stocks and new European Union regulations, said president of the Thai Frozen Food Association (TFFA) Panisuan Jamnarnwej.

From 2010, the EU will ban fishery products suspected of originated from illegal, unregulated or unreported (IUU) fishing. Imports will need documents from competent authorities - in Thailand's case, the Fisheries Department - to certify that products are non-IUU.

"Generally, the Thai fishery is a small-scale business and it is quite hard for fishermen to prepare paper documents as required by the EU," he said.

But the issue is likely to have little impact on shrimp, as nearly 90% of Thailand's total production of 520,000 tonnes in 2009 comes from about 32,000 farms, according to the Fisheries Department.

Thailand's shrimp production has surged in recent years thanks to farmers' improving skills, said Mr Panisuan. More importantly, most exports are of vannamei white shrimp, which are easy to raise and have a high survival rate.

The TFFA estimates Thailand will export about 362,000 tonnes of shrimp products by the end of 2009, worth $2,307 million or about 79.08 billion baht. Major exports markets are the United States, Japan and the European Union.

This year, marine product exports - including shrimp, fish and cuttlefish - will total 882,600 tonnes, with a value of $3.47 billion or about 119 billion baht.

Farm-raised white fish especially the tilapia - known in Thailand as pla nin - has strong export potential in many markets, he said.

Operators should also be concerned over issues such as child and forced labour, social responsibility and product sanitation, which will influence foreign buyers in the future.

the Fish Site Editor

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